Primitive Reflexes

Postural control develops from neurological development under the control of primitive postural reflexes. Primitive reflexes are survival reflexes which develop in-utero and are involuntary muscular movements that originate from the brainstem.  Every primitive, intra-uterine and transitional reflex has a function and once the required function is achieved it should be inhibited by a higher part of the developing brain.  If the reflex is not developed or completely inhibited it will hamper and suppress growth and development.  An immature central nervous system will may then lead to a poor neurological response and this will increasingly hamper the complex learning environment for neurological control and development.

Retained primitive reflexes are typically found in children with neurodevelopment disorders such as ADD/ADHD, sensory processing, autism or other learning disorders, these reflexes can contribute to their symptoms as well as affecting their behavior.

The sensory processing systems that may be affected include auditory, taste, tactile, smell, visual, vestibular and proprioception.

Retention of these reflexes can occur in differing ways, the main area is believed to be involved with child birth.  Since the birth process itself is important in the development and integration of primitive reflexes, a child who experiences a traumatic birth or is delivered by C-section may retain primitive reflexes.  Other causes can include trauma and lack of exploration during development.

During any of the MyoDynamic assessments retention of such reflexes will be considered and how they can affect the individual.  Integration of such retained reflexes can be achieved within a therapy programme and relevant advice given.  There may be a need to involve a cranial worker who can treat cranial and skeletal instability and therefore help with the integration of these reflexes in order that neurological development delay techniques can help to improve function.